Let’s talk about ink for a minute…
Tattoos are expensive and rather permanent. That is unless you want to pay for 5-10 laser tattoo removal sessions at about $150 per session, which many people have come to me to do.
If you’d like to keep your ink in your skin and have that tattoo blazing for years and years, you want it to heal properly. Unfortunately, what most people don’t know (tattoo artists included) is that the healing process can absolutely make or break a tattoo.
This doesn’t mean a great artist can’t squeak you by suggesting old-school aftercare products. Many have done it for decades and continue to successfully do it. Nor does it mean a newbie or sketchy artist can give you great aftercare when overworking your skin, expecting a perfectly healed tattoo.
The big problem with 90% of all tattoos is that there’s a phase called “hard-healing.” This is where scabbing, rashes, pimples, itchy white bumps, or heavy peeling occurs. Why does this happen? Scabbing could be a result of your skin being overworked, your immune system not being the best, or a few other reasons.
Most commonly, it’s the “healing” aftercare products being used, which contain lanolin, petroleum, mineral oil, sea salt, food grade colouring or alcohol-all of which have dangerous and even lethal side effects. None of those ingredients are healing, when it comes to tattoos.
Let me give you the ingredients that can cause the above situations.
- Lanolin – is derived from sheep’s wool. It is an allergen, contains pesticides, can cause rashes, oozing or skin infections, and increases sun sensitivity. If taken internally, lanolin can cause diarrhea, intestinal problems and vomiting.
- Petroleum/mineral oil – is a known carcinogen, is used as a laxative, and is a byproduct of gasoline. These ingredients leech vitamins from the body and increase the risk of scrotal, skin, gastrointestinal, rectal, bladder and respiratory-tract cancers.
- Food grade colouring – can be pigmented from animal, plant, INSECTS and synthetic sources that are used to colour products. Some colourings are derived from coal tar and are continuously tested on animals due to their carcinogenic properties.
- Alcohol, sea salt – while admittedly cleansing, it will dry tattoos and therefore damage them. These ingredients have the potential for heating up the skin and burning it, as well. Ever heard the phrase “pouring salt into an open wound?”
These are just a few of the ingredients used during the typical tattoo process, as well as the healing process.
A tattoo is an open wound and should be treated accordingly.
Would you go to your mechanic to get your tattoo aftercare products? Some of the ingredients listed above are the equivalent to pouring motor oil on your tattoo. The bottom line is that if you use inferior products, you WILL have inferior tattoos!
If a product causes vomiting, diarrhea, or cancer, why would you put it on the largest organ in your body? “Hard healing” can also lead to scarring and causes you to worry unnecessarily about what’s going to be left on you permanently. Poor healing is a GREAT DEAL of wasted time for everyone involved.
You spend a lot of time picking a clean shop, a talented artist, and more time have your artists design a permanent piece of art on your body. Why would you then drop the ball at the most crucial phase of the healing process by using an inferior aftercare product?
Why would you use a “healing” salve made with ANY colouring (food grade or not), when it’s recommended to use no scents or colours in lotions after the 3rd day?
But, there’s good news…
After putting all that time and thought into deciding on your tattoo, you can spend LESS time worrying about the healing process. You can take control of the one part of the process that has a great effect on how well your ink stays where it’s meant to stay… in your skin!
Would you trust a tattoo from an artist with no tattoos? So, you also wouldn’t want an aftercare product made by men in white coats, with no ink on them or knowledge of tattoos, right? Old school “aftercare” products were not designed to heal tattoos. It’s that simple. Those old-school products are running your ink and are causing the problems listed above.
The solution is simple. When you’re looking for tattoo aftercare and are researching the company, look for the following qualities:
- The proprietor believes in the art of aftercare and considers what they do AS an art form (you can usually get a feeling for this by looking at their website and reading content). Using tattoo models in place of actual research and content is a hint that the company cares more about marketing than in healing your tattoo.
- The aftercare is made by someone who knows about the actual healing properties of the ingredients IN their product! Why are they using the ingredients they’ve chosen? Are you able to even easily discern what’s IN an aftercare product or do you have to search all over for the ingredient list?
- A company that cares about YOU and answers your questions about properly healing your ink. Do they have an FAQ’s page or testimonials?
- Aftercare created by someone who has an understanding of the human anatomy and biology, especially when it comes to skin healing, skin conditions, and immune issues.
- Aftercare made by someone who’s trained to remove tattoos. Why would this matter? In order to properly REMOVE a tattoo, you need to know how it’s put INTO the skin.
- Aftercare made with simple and limited ingredients, so it avoids basic and allergic reactions. Don’t purchase products with ingredients you can’t pronounce or ingredients over 3 syllables. Ceresin? Bisabolol? Microcrystalline Wax? Paraffin? Cod Liver Oil (this ingredient explains why they use “fragrance!”)? Polymyxin B Sulfate? Do you know what these ingredients are or do?
- Aftercare made with organic ingredients to reduce allergies, and promote healing-it should not cause diseases down the road.
- Affordable aftercare that’s naturally Hypo-allergenic.
- A product that increases the healing time of your work.
- A product that’s useful for all phases of healing and is multi-purpose.
If you demand a product that has the qualities listed above, it will absolutely heal better and faster. Don’t be stingy because the product your artist recommends is $1-2 more than a cheap alternative at the local drugstore. You get what you pay for… clogged pores are bad for tattoos and will cost you more time and money than what you spent on the aftercare.
Your tattoo is going to last you for the rest of your life, especially if you take good care of it. You just paid good money for permanent ink – there’s no need to be cheap about the healing process.